On this day, I washed dishes. Now, that’s something I do with some frequency, but I took a picture of it so I could tell you a story.
Well, two stories, the first of which is fairly boring. My dishwasher is broken AGAIN, and so we are doing dishes by hand. All the kids hate dishes, but none of them mind cooking, and they dislike the other kitchen chores less than they hate dishes. So, I don’t cook anymore, but I do all the dishes. I divided the eight kids into four teams, and one team cooks each night, and the other three take care of the miscellaneous kitchen tasks. The thing is, I don’t mind doing the dishes. I just mind doing the dishes and the cooking and the sweeping and the clearing and the….. yeah, you get the idea. I find standing there at the sink with my hands doing a job that my mind doesn’t need to be involved in to be a great time for reflection, and a good way to wind down from the day, so the system works for all of us. It was a moment of sheer genius, I tell ya!
Ok, onto the other story. You will note that my right hand appears in that picture, and that on my ring finger is something that looks suspiciously like a wedding band. That’s because it is a wedding band. The engagement ring is there, too. These are Grandmother’s rings, and some two years after she died, I told my mother I was ready for them. I had to tell her about eight times before she believed me, and even then I think it was because That One was standing behind me and confirmed it.
Now, this is not the first time I have owned these rings. I had asked her for them many years ago, while she was still healthy and active, and she agreed immediately that I could have them when she was no longer needing them. And then, after she went into the nursing home, but was still leaving to visit us now and again, she gave them to me, because they no longer fit her. My uncle asked for them back so he could have them resized for her, and I handed them over without hesitation, and she wore them for a couple more years. After she died, though, the rings came off and Mama kept them for me.
I calculated a couple weeks ago, that Grandmother wore these rings while she washed dishes for about 55 years. And now I wear them, and I wash dishes in them, and so the legacy of love continues. I think roughly the same thoughts whenever I work on my flowerbeds or sew or make fried chicken. I want to be the kind of woman she was. Oh yes, I do.
She had a way of smiling at you when you walked into a room that made you think she’d just been waiting for you to show up to make her day complete. A big huge smile, and she continued to do that until very near the end of her life, even after she no longer recognized people for who they were. (Thankfully, that stage was intermittent, and didn’t last very long for her, but she often thought I was my mother near the end. I could tell by the things she said.) Lately, I’ve been told by my bffs and my kids that when I am not smiling, I look angry, no matter what my actual mood is, so I’m practicing smiling a lot more, letting the people I love now it with my face, and not just my words and deeds.
Yes, I miss her still. No one has ever loved me like my grandparents did. I think……of all the memories I have lost, it is not being able to remember more of them that troubles me most. I want to be able to remember being loved like that. It hardly seems fair to be able to remember the absolutely shitty things in my life (and excuse my language, but there is no other word for it) and to not be able to remember that.